The Italian Ministries of Agriculture, Economic Development, and Economy and Finance have pledged €8 million ($9.3 million) in grants for Apulian mills impacted by the Burian snow storm of 2018.
The funds will be provided to millers and cooperatives afftected by the frosts between February 26 and March 1, 2018. Also known as the ‘Beast from the East,’ the massive snowstorm blanketed vast tracts of Italy in unseasonably late snow.See Also: Will the Beast From the East Affect Olive Groves?
While low temperatures can have a positive effect on the development of olive drupes, Burian instead caused long-term damage to trees with trunks and branches exposed to the north and northwest.
Partially as a result of the storm, Italian olive oil production during the 2018/19 crop year fell to 175,000 tons, the lowest figure in 30 years.
In Puglia, which saw its production figures halved compared with the previous season, many millers either did not open their facilities or shut down earlier than usual, suffering a drop in revenue.
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“With the signing of the decree we now move on to the phase of allocation of funds,” Italian Agricultural Undersecretary Giuseppe L’Abbate said, adding that he will closely follow the evolution of the provision.
“Puglia accounts for the eight percent of the world’s extra virgin olive oil production,” he said. “The frosts that occurred in February and March 2018 have dealt a hard blow to the sector. For this reason, in the agriculture committee of the chamber of deputies during the discussions on the bill on emergencies in agriculture, we stepped up to implement such actions.”